A judge confirmed Dylann Roof, accused of shooting and killing nine African-Americans in a historically black Charleston, S.C., church in 2015, will stand trial and face the death penalty.
But according to The New York Times, family members of Roof's victims and many other African-Americans would rather he live.
Roof has offered to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence in prison. The government has refused such a plea deal. Jury selection for his trial is set to begin Monday.
I want that guy every morning when he wakes up, and every time he has an opportunity for quiet and solitude, to think of what Tywanza said to him...
Andrew J. Savage III, a Charleston lawyer representing three survivors and many family members of victims, said he would prefer Roof recall the words of Tywanza Sanders, who told Roof "We mean you no harm" before he was shot and killed.
When Roof was initially arrested, family members of victims forgave him.
Opinions over Roof's fate are sharply divided over racial lines. Last spring, the University of South Carolina found 64 percent of white South Carolinians wanted Roof to face the death penalty. Just 31 percent of black residents agreed.
Gov. Nikki Haley, President-elect Donald Trump's pick for the ambassador to the U.N., said she wanted Roof to face the death penalty within hours of his arrest. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced her plan to seek the death penalty in May.
Some Twitter users didn't mince words for Roof, but still opposed the death penalty.
What is it with Dylann Roof and saying the right doesn't denounce him?— Leah the Boss (@LeahRBoss) November 25, 2016
When he receives the death penalty, nothing of value will be lost.
Others thought his execution was inevitable.